Best of Avant-Garde Black Metal 2021

Avant-garde black metal is when expectations are defied, challenged. The listener is a gladiator fighting an arena full of wolves, bears, and lions. So, let’s see which albums managed to kill me this year.


Number Five: Issolei – Devouring Current



Devouring Current was released in two parts, but I’ll take it whole. The album is filled with intricate, banger riffs that are only at home on the fringes. While the album is more in line with the norms of the genre than the others on this list, it does such a good job of it that I could not let it pass.


Number Four: Victory over the Sun – Nowherer


Nowherer is a true trespassing of norms. Case in point, the album features 17-note instruments. But it’s transgressive in more than one way: short songs, long songs, both are here! Harmonic progression in 17-EDO? Well, I guess somebody has to try this! Truly, a memorable one.


Number Three: Skin Tension – Machinic Impules of the Hyperreal


Skin Tension is a weird duo from Nashville, and they tried something new for this album: writing stuff before playing it. Well, the result is more than adequate. Machinic Impulses of the Hyperreal is still filled with some improvised material, but that only adds to the charm, and chaos.


Number Two: Chaos Echoes – Ecstasy with the Nonexistents


Even though it’s a live recording of reimagined songs from earlier albums, Ecstasy with the Nonexistents is a brutal display of creative songwriting and musicianship, and how even older compositions can take a new life. Brilliant!


Number One: Plebeian Grandstand – Rien ne suffit


It could not be helped. Plebeian Grandstand’s magnum opus truly rose above the rest. With its aesthetic experimentation, Rien ne suffit is a masterclass in how to challenge the norm, and that’s what I want from my avant-garde music.


Notable Releases

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Friday, 5 February

Chaos Echoes – Ecstasy with the Nonexistents

54:13
avant-garde black metal
France
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)

Skin Tension – Machinic Impulses of the Hyperreal

33:45
avant-garde black metal
Nashville, Tennessee
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 26

Noble Déchet – Ménestrel Déviance

41:09
black metal, folk
Quebec City, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 28 February

Void – The Hollow Man

38:05
avant-garde black metal
UK
Duplicate

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 5 March

Krallice – Demonic Wealth

52:43
avant-garde black metal
New York, New York
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)

Sea Mosquito – Fire, Magic, and Venom

22:53
avant-garde black metal
London, UK
Independent

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 12 March

Autarkh – Form in Motion

47:26
industrial black metal
Tilburg, Netherlands
Season of Mist

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 7 April

Ævangelist – Dream an Evil Dream Ⅲ

46:09
avant-garde black metal
Finland
Dead Seed

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 23 April

Victory over the Sun – Nowherer

39:27
avant-garde black metal
Portland, Oregon
Independent

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 7 May

Grey Aura – Zwart vierkant

42:58
avant-garde black metal
Utrecht, Netherlands
Independent

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 14 May

Wreche – All My Dreams Came True

60:18
experimental black metal
Oakland, California
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Saturday, 17 July

Voidcræft – Μισόσαρκος

20:56
avant-garde black metal
Karlsruhe, Germany
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 13 August

Qrixkuor – Poison Palinopsia

48:42
avant-garde black metal
London, UK
Dark Descent

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 22

Spintria – Spintria

42:35
avant-garde black metal
Nashville, Tennessee
Moonlight Cypress Archetypes

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 31

Issolei – Cilicium

45:12
avant-garde black metal
Trondheim, Norway
Terratur Possessions

Tracklist (click to display)

Issolei – Devouring Current, Part 1: Crystalline Fractures

26:13
avant-garde black metal
Trondheim, Norway
Terratur Possessions

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)

Issolei – Devouring Current, Part 2: Treacherous Ascent

32:57
avant-garde black metal
Trondheim, Norway
Terratur Possessions

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 3 September

Sermon of Flames – I Have Seen the Light, and It Was Repulsive

37:30
avant-garde black metal
Italy
I, Voidhanger

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 24 September

Succumb – ⅩⅩⅠ

34:29
experimental black metal
San Francisco, California
The Flenser

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 8 October

Noble Déchet – Psychoféodale Herpétocratie

62:51
experimental black metal, folk
Quebec City, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 15

Bishop – Bishop

37:34
experimental black metal
Metz, France
Specific

Tracklist (click to display)


Thursday, 28

Noble Déchet – Le Plus que Très Vénérable Consortium schizo-boréal

50:41
black folk
Quebec City, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 31 October

Swords of Dis – Cor mundum creā in mē, sānctum ignis

23:25
avant-garde black metal
England, UK
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 5 November

Mors vērum – The Living

22:47
black metal
Waterloo, Ontario
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 12

Vertebra Ātlantis – Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss

42:12
avant-garde black metal
Italy
I, Voidhanger

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 19

Plebeian Grandstand – Rien ne suffit

50:26
blackened hardcore
France
Dēbēmur mortī

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 26

Imperialist – Zenith

43:43
progressive black metal
United States
Transcending Obscurity

Tracklist (click to display)

Noise Trail Immersion – Curia

58:46
blackened mathcore
Turin, Italy
I, Voidhanger

Tracklist (click to display)


Monday, 20 December

Nostril Caverns – Nonconscious Paradox

31:13
avant-garde black metal
Milton, Ontario
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 26 December

金猫塔

33:29
experimental black metal
Vancouver, British Columbia
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Best of 2021

01/01 – Best of Afrobeat
01/02 – Best of Atmospheric Black Metal
01/03 – Best of Avant-Garde Black Metal

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